ALLEN, TX – It is game day for the Allen Americans as they take on the Alaska Aces for the fourth and final time this season. The first three times these teams met was in Alaska where Allen lost twice. Here are the results of those games:
February 10 – Allen 1 Alaska 5
February 11 – Allen 6 Alaska 2
February 12 – Allen 4 Alaska 5
Cumulatively, Alaska has outscored Allen 12-11 and out shot them 93-64. The one advantage for the Americans is the power play. Allen was 4-10 (40%) and Alaska was 1-13 (7.7%).
Here is how Allen and Alaska match up:
|Team Record||36-21-3-2 (77 points)||23-33-4-3 (53 points)|
|Division Ranking||2nd – Central||5th -West|
|League Ranking||4th – Western||13th – Western|
|Last 10 Games||7-2-0-1||3-5-2-0|
|Power Play||21.5% (51/237)||16.5% (34/206)|
|Penalty Kill||86.9% (32/245)||82.4% (44/222)|
|Most PIMs||Stevenson (93)||Hunt (234)|
|Leading Scorer||Costello (22-65-89)||Sivak (18-38-56)|
Here is how Allen and Alaska rank in the ECHL in some statistical categories:
Penalty Minutes Per Game: Allen 5th (16.47) – Alaska 6th (15.83)
Goals Scored Per Game: Allen 7th (23.11) – Alaska 22nd (2.67)
Goals Allowed Per Game: Allen 13th (2.87) – Alaska 24th (3.33)
Shots For Per Game: Allen 26th (28.06) – Alaska 2nd (33.89)
Shots Against Per Game: Allen 15th (29.85) – Alaska 2nd (33.08)
Power Play Percentage: Allen 2nd (21.5%) – Alaska 15th (16.5%)
Penalty Kill Percentage: Allen 2nd (86.9%) – Alaska 25th (80.4%)
If you look at the stats above Alaska is #2 in shots “for” per game while Allen is #26 but if you look at goals scored Alaska is #22 and Allen is #7. The reason for this disparity is the fact Allen has one of the best shooting percentages in the league (11.0%) while Alaska has one of the worst (7.9%).
Whether you look at head to head, overall or home versus road statistics, Allen has a sizable advantage on special teams. As always, this could be a key to the game tonight.
Chad Costello has an assist in nine straight games and has 15 assists in those nine games. The nine game streak is the longest in the ECHL this season.
Allen plays Alaska tonight with a depleted roster with Rumpel, Hanson and Pinkston in the AHL, Asuchak serving a suspension and Gens, Crane and Courtnall all out with injuries. “Next man up” is certainly the motto of the day.
When Allen played the three games in Alaska there were 16 roughing penalties and six fighting major penalties called. One incident that wasn’t called a penalty was when the Aces tough guy Garet Hunt, who leads the ECHL in penalty minutes (234) and major penalties (16), crossed the red line during warm ups and took a cheap shot at Dyson Stevenson. Don’t think the Americans have forgotten that incident. You might want to keep an eye on Hunt and Reid Halabi in warm ups and the game. It just might be a good show.
The referee scheduled tonight is Tyler Puddifant (#28) and the linesmen are Erik Contino (#92) and Brian Bull (#49).
– A couple of games to keep an eye on tonight in the race for the fourth seed in the Western Conference are Wheeling at Cincinnati and Utah at Colorado. Currently the battle for the fourth seed has Allen #4, Cincinnati #5, Utah #6 and Colorado #7.
– Congrats to Garrett Clarke as his team (DVTK Jegesmedvek) won the MOL Liga championship. MOL Liga is a nine team league with teams from Hungary, Romania and Slovakia. Garrett arrived in Europe in time to play six regular season games (1 goal 3 assists) and all eight playoff playoff games.
Jamie Schaafsma had a goal last night as his division leading Fort Wayne Komets beat Evansville 4-0. Jamie has a goal in five straight games, eight of the last nine, and 13 of the last 17 games. Jamie always gets hot at the end of the season but he has been on fire lately. Coach Martinson had some nice things to say about Jamie on his radio show on Wednesday.
“Schaafsma has really been heating up for Fort Wayne. He has been like he always has in the second half of the season. He is probably leading the Komets in scoring in the second half,” Martinson said. “I still stay in touch with him. He is one of the favorite players I have had over the 20 years I have coached.”
When discussing what the team lacked early on, Martinson was quick to point out it was Schaafsma’s voice in the room:
“One of the things we missed the first half of this season was Jamie Schaafsma, not only on the ice but in the locker room. One of the things I took for granted is we had a lot of guys here over the past and I think Jamie was the most vocal guy in what it takes to play here and what we were looking for. I could have done a better job of dealing with the younger players in the absence of Schaafsma this year. Jamie did a really good job as captain here. Even though he wasn’t the captain the first couple of years he was a veteran guy and he was never afraid to speak his mind to me and his opinion was one I trusted and listened to because I respected the way that he played,” Martinson said.
QUESTION OF THE DAY: Thanks to Dave for today’s question.
Q: When players are suspended by the ECHL or AHL and then called up to the AHL or assigned to the ECHL before they have served their suspension, does the other league honor the suspension?
A: Thanks to Joe Ernst, ECHL Vice President of Hockey Operations for the answer, “As far as honoring them, we both (AHL & ECHL) look at any incident if a players is called up or sent down and determine what the infraction is and we both make our own decision on honoring the suspension. If a player is suspended here (ECHL) and called up, he will sit the remaining games here when he comes back. We have honored guys being sent down as well and have them miss games if a suspension happens to be there. It is a case by case scenario.” Bottom line is there is no rule.
DID YOU KNOW: Four of Allen’s five top scorers when they played three games in Alaska last month will not be in the line up tonight (Chris Crane, Spencer Asuchak, Aaron Gens, Greger Hanson). These four players scored eight of the 11 goals scored by Allen in the three games and 17 of 30 points. The one top scorer that will be in the line up is Chad Costello who had one goal and five assists against Alaska.